Today, I’m updating an all-time favorite recipe for vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookies, now known as Caramel deLites. A version of this recipe is also in the 2nd Edition of my flagship book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. And I’ve taken some new pictures to entice you!
You originally asked for this recipe on Facebook, and I delivered. Truth be told, I was really hoping there would be more votes for the Tagalongs or Peanut Butter Patties. But when I posted my Dairy-Free Thin Mint recipe, and asked what other Girl Scout cookies you would like to see a recipe for, the response for a Samoa girl scout cookie recipe was overwhelming.
So do they taste like authentic Samoa cookies? Um, well, I couldn’t tell you … I’ve never actually had a Girl Scout Caramel deLite cookie. But, I can tell you that they taste really darn good. It’s the perfect dessert to enjoy for holidays, or when cookie cravings strike. Which is pretty much every day.
Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookies that will Delite Everyone
Since I’d never tried Samoas, I needed a girl scout cookie recipe model to work from. However, I was surprised how few recipes I found for this cookie, and how so many of them weren’t true to form. I found bar versions that didn’t even have a chocolate base (how could I deny you of an extra chocolate layer?), I found recipes that were void of the shortbread base (true, I would have been happy without the shortbread, but I know how you all love it), and in Vegan Cookies, she skips the caramel topping altogether (a bit sacrilegious don’t you think?).
I did my best to stay loyal to the original cookie, but of course had to change up the recipe a bit to make it dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan. Okay, okay, I skipped the hole in the middle too.
I mean, that’s a little nit-picky don’t you think? And you get more per cookie with my simple round version. If you must, use a wide straw or some other small circular instrument and painstakingly remove a hole from the center of the fragile shortbread dough. But when you start cursing like a sailor, don’t say I didn’t offer an easier solution!
Reader Raves for these Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookies
I originally shared this recipe on my old blog, and brought it over here. Here is some feedback from readers who tried the recipe, but left a comment on that original post.
What a great one Alisa! Once you get a sort of assembly line going they don’t take too long to make. I think next time I will double or triple the recipe and make a bunch, people eat them like crazy.
I also tried rolling the dough slightly thinner and cutting a wider cookie with the hole cut out of the center and they looked like perfect copies, but putting the coconut topping on becomes a huge task when you do this, not really worth it in my opinion. ~ Joe K.
Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe! I am addicted to baked goods, but cannot eat dairy, eggs, or nuts because of my son’s allergies.
I just made these today for Easter and they are almost gone already! My whole family LOVES them. I had to cook them way longer because I am at a higher altitude, but everything else was perfect. ~ Shelly
Thank you! =) Finally a vegan recipe my big sister approves of. Nothing quite like the bonding over baked goods. ~ Nikita
And I’ve also had some feedback on this recipe via social media:
One of my all time favorite recipes. I’ve made the original many times over the last few years, and always double it. SO yummy! ~ Michelle G. (via Facebook)
Special Diet Notes: Samoa Girl Scout Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
For gluten-free and vegan “caramel delites,” you can substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose flour.
- ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread or Bakeable Butter (a simple recipe in Go Dairy Free)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free milk beverage (I sometimes just use a little of the canned coconut milk that's open for the caramel topping)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 1¼ cups all-purpose flour (up to 1½ cups above 4,000 feet)
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup canned coconut milk (I use the full-fat version, not light)
- ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (or use sweetened coconut if you prefer a sugary treat)
- 1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, buttery spread, or organic palm shortening
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Put the buttery spread, sugar, milk beverage, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until creamy.
- Add the 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt to the wet ingredients and beat until well combined. Stir in up to ¼ cup of additional flour (up to ½ cup above 4,000 feet) to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough out until it is ⅛ to ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough with a 2¼-inch round cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or glass. Carefully transfer the cut dough rounds to your prepared baking sheets. (I sometimes roll the dough out on the parchment paper and gently cut the dough, without cutting the paper, since the dough can be hard to move.)
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (up to 16 minutes above 4,000 feet), or until the cookies just begin to brown around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheets while you prepare the caramel topping.
- Combine the coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer or low boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Keep an eye to be sure it doesn’t threaten to boil over.
- Uncover and continue to let the dairy-free caramel simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should become somewhat thick, like a caramel sauce. But keep in mind, it will thicken more as it cools and when you add all of that coconut!
- Remove the caramel mixture from the heat, and stir in the vanilla, followed by the coconut. I used all of the coconut, which made it very thick, and almost dough-like to handle.
- Top each shortbread cookie with the caramel-coconut mixture. I use it all up, making a fairly thick layer of topping. My topping was thick, so I wet my hands (to prevent sticking) and pressed it down to evenly cover the tops of the shortbread.
- Melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil, buttery spread, or shortening.
- Dip the shortbread bases in the chocolate. You can either coat just the bottoms, or submerge up to the caramel layer. I make them both ways.
- Place the cookies chocolate side down on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to firm up.
- Drizzle the top of the cookies (over the caramel layer) with any leftover chocolate. I’ve read that you can drizzle with a fork, but that doesn't work well for me. For the pretties results, you can pipe the chocolate.
- Let the cookies sit in a cool area so that the chocolate can set up. Usually this will happen at room temperature. But if your heater is set on “melt chocolate” (over 70 degrees), or you're antsy, you can place the cookies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or put them in plastic freezer bags and freeze to enjoy later.